The Lone Wolf intersects Col Tara’s childhood and adolescence against the background of political tensions caused by linguistic hegemony in Pakistan. This eventually explodes into a full-fledged war that we now know as the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 and that India specifically remembers as the Indo-Pak War. On the very day that the war ended, Col Tara was at the centre of a high-profile hostage crisis. He was tasked to negotiate the release of Pakistani Army hostages, who were none other than the family of Sheikh Hasina.
Col Ashok Tara led the high-profile rescue mission as was his duty, but his tact and bravery are emblematic of India’s own diplomatic role in the conflict between East and West Pakistan. Neha Dwivedi’s book spotlights the side of war requiring strategy, a level of wit and composure that many rarely identify as a strength of the military.
A childhood encounter formed the foundation for these skills. For Col Tara, The Lone Wolf is more than just a metaphor. At the young age of nine years old, Ashok Tara found himself face-to-face with a wolf, while walking through a forest ridge along the Yamuna. Back then the undergrowth was wilder and for Ashok and his brother Kirti, the walk to and from school was an adventure. On that fateful day, Ashok was all by himself. With a wild wolf standing in his path, the young Ashok Tara remembered the words of his grandfather, a former shikari:
. . . when confronted by an opponent, even if it’s a wild animal, stare at your opponent with a confident and stern expression. This show of courage will effectively deter them from launching an attack.
These words saved his life, not just on that day, but twenty years later, as he stood unarmed in front of a group of hostile Pakistani soldiers.
To read Col Ashok Tara’s story, get your own copy of The Lone Wolf from your nearest bookstore.